This week’s article looks at the debt cap when applying the fixed ratio method.
In the second of our series of articles looking at the new corporate interest restriction regime which applies from 1 April 2017, this week we look at the debt cap when applying the fixed ratio method. Interest is disallowed to the extent the net tax-interest expense for UK companies (broadly, finance charges taken from the UK tax computations) exceeds the interest capacity. The interest capacity is partly calculated by reference to the fixed ratio debt cap limit which is based on the net finance expense in the group accounts. When calculating the debt cap limit, adjustments may be required to the figures recognised in the group income statement. An election can be considered to make further adjustments, which may be beneficial but will result in an additional compliance burden.
Under the fixed ratio method, the interest capacity is based on 30 percent of the aggregate tax-EBITDA (taken from the computations) or, if lower, the fixed ratio method debt cap limit, but is never less than £2 million.
The fixed ratio method debt cap is intended to ensure that the UK tax deductible interest expense does not exceed the interest expense of the worldwide group.
It is a measure of the group’s net financing cost in the income statement in the group accounts. This can be contrasted to the worldwide debt cap rules which use a measure of the group’s gross finance charge.
The finance charge in the group accounts must be adjusted for certain matters such as the following:
Interaction with brought forward disallowed interest
The net tax- interest expense which has been disallowed under the corporate interest restriction rules can be carried forward indefinitely and utilised in a later period subject to the limits applying for that later period. Where this is the case, there are some complicated rules which may have a beneficial impact by increasing the debt cap limit in a later period, thereby potentially permitting the disallowed interest to be utilised in a later period.
Election to amend the debt cap limit
An election can be made which amends the debt cap limit as follows:
Making the election has wider implications, e.g. to the group ratio method, and so should be considered carefully. Both the mandatory adjustments to the accounting numbers and the effect of the election will add to the compliance burden.If you have any questions about the impact these rules may have on your business, then please get in touch with one of the named contacts or your usual KPMG contact.
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